Onondaga Lake (Syracuse) - July 7th-10th, 1994


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Onondaga Lake The Onondaga Lake Park was an ideal setting for a program, given the history of the lake in 1790s salt production and its connection to the shiping routes on early waterways and canals.

The major program of the 1994 season was to be the Waterfront Extravaganza at Onondaga Lake Park, just west of Syracuse, from July 7th-10th. This year the festival was also billed as The Official Bicentennial Celebration of Onondaga County, so our 1794-1994 focus had double meaning.

Since this was a full month after "Discovery" arrived in Onondaga Lake, after the Oswego River navigation, we stored it at the east end of the lake, at the Canal terminal facility (Thruway Authority), between programs.

This event, a major urban festival along one of the best developed strips of parkland in central New York, was to have a salt theme. In the 1790s, salt production here was being shipped out on batteaux to all points east and west, and later, in the Canal Age, salt producers along the shore provided salt to the world. The Salt Musem, at the east end of the park, provided a venue for programs relating to this trade.

Since the very extensive festival grounds covered most of the lakeshore with tents for exhibits, performances and vendor displays, "Discovery" was moored at the far west end of the park, where the Barge Canal entered the lake, and the encampment was established there in a grove of trees.

Due to the shallowness of the lake along the shore and for some distance off-shore, the crew was able, for the first time, to test the polling method of propelling the batteau. We found it surpisingly easy to do, following the technique shown in period illustrations. Here again, experimental history helped us clarify the historical record.

At the Syracuse canal terminal Staff at the state canal terminal in Syracuse help relaunch "Discovery" in preparation for navigating several miles westward to the end of Onondaga Lake.
Onondaga Lake park The festival site was in Onondaga Lake Park, along the northwest shore at the opposite end from the City of Syracuse.
The batteau camp at Onondaga Lake In one of the more pleasant encampment sites, the crew (L-R: George, Phil, Joe and Bob) sets up the tents for a weekend of programming - just off the edge of the festival grounds.
Shallows allowed poling the boat For this event, "Discovery" was just run up on the shallow beach for a landing - one of the more natural moorings of the entire program.
Demonstrating batteau operations With the festival tents in the background, "Discovery" starts a demonstration run, with Phil Lord at the sweep and George Haswell as passenger. Bob Mulligan and Joe Meany were in the bow working the oars.



George Haswell GEORGE HASWELL
Taken by lightning in a sudden squall that swept the "Discovery" camp on Onondaga Lake
July 10th, 1994
Batteau sailing down canal


 

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